Amid mounting concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant Omicron spreading to many countries, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting with states and UTs on Tuesday and advised them to ramp up testing for early identification and management of cases. While underlining that the new variant doesn’t escape RT-PCR and RAT tests, Bhushan asked states and UTs to ensure adequate infrastructure and supervised home isolation, a Union Health Ministry official said.
Here’s what the Centre advised states to follow:
• Samples from international travellers from at-risk countries to be tested scrupulously. All positive samples are required to be sent for genome sequencing to INSACOG Labs promptly. States were also advised to undertake contact tracing of positive individuals and follow up for 14 days.
• States were asked to strictly implement the testing guidelines and ensure ample testing stats in each district while maintaining RT-PCR ratio. The states were also asked to carry out continued monitoring of areas where recent cluster of positive cases has emerged.
• Effective and regular monitoring of home isolation cases, with physical visits to homes of passengers from “at-risk” countries. The status of those who are negative after the test on the 8th day to also be physically monitored by the state administration.
• States were advised to ensure preparedness of health infrastructure (availability of ICU, O2 beds, ventilators, etc.)
• States to co-ordinate with airport health officials and “Air Suvidha” portal for list of positive travelers, including details of all international travelers, and strengthen support to them for effective surveillance.
States were advised to have meetings on November 30 with Bureau of
• Immigration, airport health officials, public health officials and other relevant officials to ensure smooth implementation of the new Guidelines for international travelers which come into effect from December 1 midnight.
• Daily monitoring by the State Surveillance Officer to track and contain the spread of transmission of any VoCs in the country, especially from any recent clusters of positive cases.